Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mini Cooper S

I was on leave last Thursday and my morning agenda was to fetch Ajae from the Audi Hangar Glenmarie as he’s sending his Polo for rectification. And knowing him well enough now, it’s never come as a surprise to me that he will always be late in anything (pun intended Ajae! :P). During my initial waiting at the Hangar looking at arrays of B8 A4 2.0T and Mk2 TT 2.0T, it tickers my bell, is a pre-reg Mini Cooper S R56 a bargain now?

There and then, I drove out of the Hangar and head straight to Auto Bavaria which is less than 2 clicks away. Parked the Pocong at the “Customer Only” parking, I strolled into the showroom and meet a Mini Specialist by the name of Adam. Sad to say there’s no pre-reg Mini available because they don’t have problem in selling them! And there’s no MCS on displayed too but there’s one for test-drive….

Honestly speaking, I prefer the looks of its predecessor R53 as I feel the R56 getting too grown up and bengkak front end doesn’t helped either. Interior design funkiness is still not my cup of tea, and why a huge speedometer placed at the centre? Do you want me to get kicked in arse by my wifey for going 1km/h above speed limit?! And why in the god’s world they only bringing in auto?

As soon as I’m driving it out of the Auto Bavaria compound with sport button turned on and DSC off, my none-insured mouth began to shut up. The power feels very natural, responsive almost NA like with torqueyness of unmistakably forced fed. Unlike the 308 turbo which shares the same engine as this, the power doesn’t seem to be tapering off after 4k rpm, it keeps on pulling till it reaches to someway past 5k rpm. Though not as Pocong fast but it’s quick nonetheless at 184bhp and 260nm.

The only achilles heal to this is the auto box, it just doesn’t do justice to this MCS. Although it comes with slightly closer final drive than the 308 (I think), it’s not as responsive as DSG or DCT as what BMW calls it. As a driver’s car, it can only be fun with manual box which like a mechanical watch might not be as accurate and rapid as digital ones but it gives every sense of purity and enjoyment of every tick.

With the wider chassis and tracks, you can mesh almost all the juice coming from the 1.6 turbo going into the corner and it will stick to it. Might now be as JCW level but screw the MiTo, Pocong and Golf GTI, they wouldn’t stand a chance on windy roads, this is inevitable truth. Going really hardcore, you could trail brake as you turn into a corner, instigates a swivel, four wheel slides and the front bonnet should be able to pointing out of the corner very early in its radius. Once getting the hang of it, you can string corners together with dabs here, lifts there at huge amount of speed. And yet this MCS doesn’t comes with LSD.

Equally amazes me is the steering, it just full of feel, pure, quick but none of the artificial fuzziness you’d get from the MiTo. The only downside to this is wider turning circle than maybe a CRV. No doubt that it’s the best feel I’ve got from any road going car I’ve driven. People often enough scoff at the MCS for having choppy, at worst harsh ride but for me it’s OK, yes it’s firm but none of those jarring or harsh. In fact, I think ABT spring-ed Polo GTI would be far worse.

At this moment, maybe some of you would think the FD2R still has the edge over the MCS. In terms of raw pace, definitely hands down and to a certain extend handing too but you’ve to understand, Conti hatches have always giving more adjustability at the limit while the R badge Hondas making full use of its diff to really work with the chassis and give awesome grip in and out corners. Two separate recipes but outcome is pretty much the similar excitements. It’s very much of a case of some like cheese cake while some others prefer good ol apple pie for dessert.

After 15 minutes drive, honestly I don’t want to give back the keys to Adam but two things made me to. First and foremost is the lack of manual transmission in the MCS in here and second is the price of RM239k. It’s really hard to justify the asking amount when the FD2R which offers far more power, space and practicality bar the choppy ride at RM40k cheaper and the same amount can buy you Rocco Lampone inspired Scirocco which is the in-thing hot hatch nowadays. But if you’re looking for classic reincarnated hot hatch which isn’t only about the looks but goes really well too, you can never go wrong with MCS.

Back to me, looking at wifey going into a step higher in her career ladder and me god willing enroute to greener grass, this MCS will be in our radar for long time to come.

Laser blue with white stripes and top is my current favourite colour

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Karting 4th installment

As mentioned in the previous posting, yeah we had our karting session again last week Sunday. Part of the reason is my ex officemate by the name of Ban (tayar in Indonesian) just came back for holiday from Saudi Arabia, he will go merajuk should we opted not to go with him this time. :P

Since the session will kick off in the afternoon, I accompanied a Polo GTI owner, Ajae to Jooi Seng in the morning to ditch newly shod Dunlop LM703s (one week old) for RSRs. Just like Munir who changed to RSRs two weeks back, he got the same good bargain price of RM370 per piece. At last this guy has fallen for my racun after so much resistance on his side, see Ajae, as they say, resistance is futile! I’m a good recommender tau!

By 2.30pm most of us already in City Karting track, 8 to be exact including my brothers, getting busy conteng-conteng the forms, handing out cash to the towkey, strapping in our helmets and gloves and ready to rempit! This time around, it’s quite an exhausting one with the sun heating the track and those on it like an oven baking a hell lot of heat to melt the cheese; nevertheless all of us enjoyed the evening as every karting session we had.

That day, I managed to pick up few pointers of what separating us from the pros. Guys like Edwyn, who is a MyKart race driver (and Polo GTI owner too) managed to drive his line precisely clean and consistently over numerous laps. These couple with his car control alone will net easily 2-3 seconds off me and geng-geng se-angkatan per lap. And say his best laptime of about 1.09s, in 10 laps, he would be further ½ lap ahead!

And because of my over spending time on this new addiction brings me to one shameful confession. The more time I spend on karting, the more worsen I feel on driving cars hard on sweeping bends and long fast straights on the road or on the track. It’s something that the road cars’ compromise between comfort and fun causing it to be soft, imprecise, inactive and just not as rewarding compared to decent prepped kart. Of course, there’re cars offering more focus experience, but it’s no brainer to me because I don’t think I can afford one anytime soon (but I will consider one to nursing my up and coming midlife crisis in 10-15 years time :P)

Modding on the other hand, can brings more focus injections but it’s like a carving of what already been a neatly packaged sirloin meat by most run-of-the-mill gourmet shops where idiots like me might mostly end up spoiling the entire car. This then brings me to one penultimate question, should I abandon my modding junkie-ness on the Pocong and just get an uncompromised kart to unleash my lust or stay where I’m now i.e. agak-agak boleh modding junkie? hehehe

And back to road driving, I’m going back to my favourite Ulu Yam road tomorrow morning, trying to find out what road driving can offer where karting just couldn’t….hmmmm

Anyway, here’s an array of pictures of our karting session courtesy of Ban & his brother.

1st head underway...

Tussle between my two brothers (Adli and Qusyairi), the rempit came on top!

Adli still got to improve is line through

The tapaued Qusyairi soldier on... until...

...I came and lap him kakaka

Qusyairi correcting skids

Close up pic, helmet ok... gloves ok... but shoes not ok :P

Was it Ajae at the back there with the white/red top? hahaha

Kart21 (Kart 27 in previous weeks) was ok just down on pawar

2nd heat, this kart is extremely vibrating and very loose tail end but very PAWAR!


Catching up to Haji Ban!

Bye bye Haji!!

3rd heat underway....

Who's got the rights to the corner first? Me me me says everyone here ...

1st lap done...

2nd lap Ajae and Ban hustling me down!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rear brake pads

I met Mike yesterday and got this original rear brake pad set from him. This pads (6Q0 698 451 B) are specifically for 9N2 Mk4 Polo, 6Y Skoda Fabia, 6L Seat Ibiza and 8Z Audi A2. Hmmm, time to get the rear rotors skimmed, fit this in and re-bleed the fluid at 45k kms service perhaps.

Small only

As usual, the pads comes with sensor and new clippings and bolts

Mk5 Polo GTI commercial video

Have a look at the commercial video by VW. The Pocong’s successor is freaking awesome!! New car sickness already sipping inside me, slowly and hard. My heart already sending signal that it wants one but can it overrule the head…..

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


This BKR7E plug has got to be one of the endangered species where non of the shops I've been are selling it. Luckily I managed to make last minute phone call to my brother who's coming back home to buy these instead. This much cheaper and a range colder plug with 0.028" gap should works well with the Pocong!

3 sets, 2 sets for friends and only one for me :(

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Karting 3rd installment

My mates and I again had our karting session last week Sunday. The sun was shining, the track was dry, humid and grippy; and in my case, with exception of the 2nd heat, I had a competitive kart this time :)

Generally, our pace are getting better and I managed to get fruitful results from some experimentations of racing line and corner entry & exit, not to mention going wheel to wheel with seasoned karter Ajae for some laps with me managed to edge him in the end hahaha. Just that, I wish to know how fast we were going…..

There’s still more issues need to be addressed though. Among those is definitely on my stamina and fitness has to go a notch higher as I had to end 3rd heat earlier because of both my feet got crammed. And I have to get my racing line cleaner for better consistency.

In the end, all of us have been thoroughly enjoyed this one and realising this is getting more addictive hobby, we’re set to go again next week. Oh I can’t wait to rempit again!

In the mean time, do enjoy of array of pictures courtesy of Mohd Norhusairi

80cc again..

Nikon's colour is awesomely good!

I was about to lap the guys on 1st heat...

We were taking 5 after 1st heat

Even penyanyi rock Nasir also joined :P

Getting ready for 2nd heat

Rolling start commencing on 2nd heat..

This has to be the worst shitbox on wheels I've ever driven here. It's alignment wayyy off its axis and the talk about the power, I'd be better running than driving!

Joe getting more serious now :)

No Tazir, I'm getting back my kart from 1st heat :P

3rd heat commencing and I started from the very back...

Tazir tension as he too got shitbox on 3rd heat :P

Kart27 is the Kart yang keramat :P

Distraction #1

Distraction #2

Plenty of VWs there too

Me doing muka tak bersalah

Great start for this helmet hahaha

Stock Polo GTI on 150m sprint

What we’re looking here is a stock 9N3 Polo GTI from Belgium where the only thing that has been altered were KW V1 coilovers, K&N drop-in filter and meager weight saving i.e. removal of rear seats and spare tyre. That’s it. The way he nailed those starts were almost perfect!